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Time Capsule: Dining Car of Soo train jumps tracks, lands in Chippewa River

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On December 20, 1924, as the Soo train No. 2 was traveling east across the railroad bridge on the west side of Chippewa Falls (near where the River Country Co-op is now located) the last car in the train came off the tracks and as it neared the middle of the bridge it fell into the river below.

It was later determined that a switch bolt, located about 100 yards west of the bridge, broke due to the extreme cold weather at the time. The fire department, Soo Line employees, and local citizens worked diligently to rescue those in the train car. The gates at the Wissota dam were even closed to lower the water level in the river and assist the rescue. Eight people died as a result of the accident and eight were injured.

A ninth person, Mr. Harry J. Caldwell of Minneapolis, MN, the train engineer, tragically took his own life on December 31st, 1924 due to his distress over the accident even though it had been determined he was not responsible for the tragedy.


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